Michael Le Roy to Leave Calvin University
Calvin University President Michael Le Roy has announced that he does not intend to renew his contract beyond the 2021-2022 academic year. Le Roy, entering his 10th year as president of Calvin, is in the final year of his current term.
“As Andrea and I discerned a call to Calvin in 2011, we discovered a vibrant academic institution with a clear Christian mission anchored in Reformed tradition,” wrote Le Roy in a letter sent to the Calvin community.
“We have been formed by this mission and the inspiring people we have been blessed to work with during our time here. I have no doubt that the next president called to this role will enjoy a fruitful positive working relationship with the Calvin community.”
In the letter, Le Roy said he and his wife, Andrea, made this decision after a long season of prayerful discernment.
“This was a hard decision for us to make, but we now believe it is the right time to respond to the pull we feel to return to the Northwest to be closer to our family,” wrote Le Roy.
“Over the past nine years our family has grown and changed. We arrived at Calvin with active teenagers living under our roof. Now, family time has been reduced to fleeting moments with a family of young adults and aging parents who need more time and attention from us.
“During my 17 years in higher education leadership, I know I have missed a lot. The center of gravity for our family is now firmly rooted more than 2,000 miles away. During the pandemic, this distance only seemed greater to us. Having now emerged from this long crisis, we long to give greater emphasis to the family commitments in our lives.”
Le Roy’s tenure at Calvin is perhaps best summarized by his commitment to the mission, his commitment to students, and his desire to connect that compelling mission to new learners and in new ways. It’s these commitments that drove the university, under his leadership, to collaborate on Vision 2030.
“The mission of Calvin is what drew Michael here a decade ago, and his passion for the mission was stoked day after day, year after year, as he saw faculty, staff, students, alumni, and stakeholders faithfully live that mission out,” said Bruce Los, chair of the board of trustees. “It’s his witnessing this living mission that inspired him in leading the charge on the university’s exciting new vision.”
As part of Vision 2030, Le Roy led the transition of Calvin from a college to a university and expanded the populations the university serves, including adding to the university’s graduate-level programming portfolio and establishing the university’s first school (School of Business). During his tenure, Calvin also began offering bachelor’s degrees to inmates at the Handlon Correctional Facility through the Calvin Prison Initiative, a first of its kind program in the state and one of very few nationwide.
Le Roy has also proved to be an accomplished fundraiser, something he admitted wasn’t his strong suit coming in. The university brought in more than $300 million in total fundraising during his tenure, including a record-setting year in 2020.
Le Roy faced a number of headwinds during his tenure, many not unique to Calvin. But he took on these challenges, such as the reality of a significant decline in high school graduates from the Midwest, always with the long-term viability of the institution at the fore. He consistently had to make hard decisions to keep the university on a strong financial footing.
And when the pandemic hit in spring 2020, Le Roy led. He helped write the playbook for how private institutions in Michigan could safely reopen, and he secured a first-of-its-kind partnership with a testing company which paved the way for students to safely return and stay on campus for the 2020-2021 academic year.
“Michael is an extraordinary person with whom to work. He is an exceptional listener with an uncanny ability to read the room. He moves toward conflicts with a posture of grace and truth,” said Cheryl Brandsen, outgoing provost who served alongside Le Roy for seven years. “He values and delights in the teaching and scholarly work of faculty, and he loves interacting with students. Michael is a deeply wise leader who loves Calvin and loves God. Of course, there have been hard days, but I cannot imagine anyone more equipped to lead through all this than Michael.”
Le Roy is fully committed to fulfilling his role as president through the 2021-2022 academic year, the final year on his current term.
The board of trustees has begun to plan the search and succession plan and has appointed Mary Tuuk Kuras, vice chair of the board of trustees, as the chair of the search committee. The search committee will be named soon and will comprise trustees, faculty, staff, administrators, an alum, a student, and a representative of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.